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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Now that’s funny! » » Bowling Ball Production... Missing something funny :0( (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Bryan Gilles
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Northern California
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Hey Everyone!

I open my show with Andrew Mayne's Bowling Ball from Paper Bag. Its a killer opener as some of you already know; however, I feel like I have an awkward dead-space immediately after the ball drops. I was thinking a good comedy line would be great to add... Something like "I hate to drop the ball... but..."

Does anyone have any ideas?

~Bryan
tabman
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USA
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Pretend to drop the ball on your foot and limp around in a circle like your foot is stuck to the floor. After two or three revs stop and pick up with your act like nothing happened.
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

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magicgeorge
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Belfast
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Sometimes a simple remark works better than a clever line in these situations. Something like "I wasn't expecting that", "that didn't happen in rehearsal" or "last week 2 fell out"
suspectacts
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Boston
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Bryan,

The problem you are facing is one faced many times by magicians who want to be funny. The production of the bowling ball is amazing (good magic) but is a complete non sequitur so the audience just sits there in shock rather then laughing. For something to be funny it has to be a payoff of something you've already set up.

The question to ask yourself is: why are you producing a bowling ball? "Because I can" is not a good solution. Since the Mayne production is from a paper bag, you should probably start by free associating about paper bags, where they are used, what usually goes inside them.

Basically my suggestions is: instead of looking for a single line, think of an actual plot, where the production is the payoff.

I myself developed an 6 minute routine around my BB production, where it is the topper to completely different effect -sort of like the fruit at the end of a cups and balls routine.

Best of luck

peter

PS Or use one of George's cheeky lines. they are terrific!
charliemartin
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Rapid City, SD
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I love the effect and it's truly magical but I'm a comedy guy, I would add producing a pair of tacky bowling shoes and a can of disinfectant as a kicker. Just my 2 cents.

Charlie
Bryan Gilles
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Northern California
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Charlie... I do like that idea!

Anyone have more input?
TheAmbitiousCard
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Stay clear of the oft-used stupid puns. Peter's post is what you should spend your time thinking about.

Coming up with a dull pun and calling it good or claiming "it always gets a laugh" is all too common in the magic world.


Get your notebook and start writing down every thought that enters your mind about bowling, appearances, shoes, alleys, bags, ..... and start writing a script.

It's gonna suck for quite a while but it will eventually get good.
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magicgeorge
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Yeah, spare me the puns! Strike them from your act. Use the lane less travelled.

Do you see what I did there?

I would agree with Peter and Frank's suggestions about routining IF it weren't an opener. However as an opener I like the idea of doing something quick, incongrous and irrational. If you are going to set it up with a little lyrical waxing I would go with Peter's suggestion of brainstorming paper bags rather than bowling. To keep the non-sequitur nature of the bowling ball you can only really mention bowling after the production and therefore more than a couple of lines would seem anti-climatic. (Obviously this is only my humble opinion and I feel kind of bad disagreeing with the guys especially after Peter was so nice about my cheesy lines Smile ). I just think if it's at the start it might not be one of those things to build into a longer performance piece. Also find it amusing to use my biggest props for throw-away stuff and the smaller props for longer pieces.

Although not using Mayne's production The Great Kaplan's bowling ball shennagins are terrific (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ea65ijdfU_A) . Well thought out, unique, logical and entertaining. Although the initial production is well set up (shooting it from the rafters with a tic tac) it uses cartoon logic so you don't see it coming.

Having said that, here's an idea I've thought of for a set-up. I am writing from the top of my head here so this will need a lot of work but you can see were I am going with this at least:

On top of the bowling ball place a few grocery items and instead of a feather have a reciept in there. Have the bag sitting on the table.

Explain to the crowd that you have a bit of a problem. "Every tuesday I look after my 2 year old nephew. Tuesday is shopping day so I take him with me. The problem is he's a bit of a kleptomaniac. Yeah, I know it's a big word for a 2 year old but's that's what he does. On my way out of the store he'll pick something up and drop it in my bag."
Here you can throw in a couple of examples of extra items you found after you got the groceries home. You could probably do a line about something inappropriate to yourself ie he put in some shampoo if you're bald etc
Claim you've just come from the shop and place the grocery items on the table.

"I think I bought all those"
Tip the reciept out and check off the items. "Great it seems he's grown out of that habit"
Thump
"The little beggar"

Just an idea.
tabman
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...but you'll be dropping it on your foot before its all over!! Smile
...Your professional woodworking and "tender" loving care in the products you make, make the wait worthwhile. Thanks for all you do...

http://Sefalaljia.com
Engine
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Drop a vanishing coke bottle in there, do the standard, "Gone but now it's back" gag. Then put it in and tip the bag gingerly upside down while holding the top it a suspicious way (as if holding the bottle through the bag. Say, "I know what you're thinking but you're wrong!" Take your hand away cautiously (as if your internal monologue is, "Is this going to work?") Pause - relief - bowling ball - pause - amazement - crumple bag. (It's a nice treat for those who keep up to wonder what happened to the bottle after all that!)

my 2 cents
Sealegs
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Great presentational idea from Magicgeorge.

But, like George, I can't see even this presentation working brilliantly as an opener. Peter (suspectacts) provides an excellent approach for making the bowling ball work comedically. The set up frames and gives 'meaning' to the production and this is why Kevin James' Bowling Ball production so effective. But, as George suggests, having to get the Bowling Ball From Briefcase production set up in this way might not be so good for an opening effect.

So, you could either open with something else and do the effect later in your show....or find a way to make the bowling ball work.

Personally I have never seen anyone (except me Smile ) get a laugh with this effect. Even the Amazing Jonathan has the same problem with it. It doesn't get a laugh.

Initially I had exactly the same problem but eventually I found a way to make it work and although I wasn't opening with it I think using my approach it could be used as an opening bit.

I had 3 things in the case. A pack of cards and a wand (which were needed for the next effect) and the ball. So for an opening effect you could walk on and stand there, briefcase by your side, doing your opening few seconds of introductory chat then by way of going into your 1st effect you open the briefcase (I didn't bother using a table I rested it on my left forearm) and say, "I'll need... this, not that, and this." Synchronised with your words you remove the wand, then the ball then the cards. When you remove the ball you simply drop it to the floor without paying it any attention.

The sequence of events with the briefcase isn't sold as being about producing the bowling ball.... it's about removing the other items. This is what sells the effect comedically. Performed this way you remove the, 'ta dah', moment from the production and you remove all those elements that cause the hiatus in the response it otherwise gets. You no longer have to have a rationale for producing the ball... it just happened to be in your case and in the way of the things you want to get at... it could easily have been a comb or a notepad in there instead.

It's the only way I've ever seen the 'Bowling Ball From Briefcase' get the response that anyone who tries it, or sees it, naturally feels it should.

It's a small presentational difference but it was the difference for me between having this work as both a magic effect and a big comedy moment and failing on both counts.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
magicgeorge
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Brilliant! I really like the fact that it's the second of three things you take out. It would be so tempting to make it the last.

I wish there were more threads like this.

If I ever build a time machine I'm going to go back to the day I started gag tag and kick myself squarely in the balls.
Dynamike
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Make a bowling pin come out you jacket too. Michael Mode sells that trick.
unclesamayen
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Great discussion and thinking above.
Give me some thinking.
Thank you.
YuYen
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RobAnderson
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I've always loved how Amazing Johnathan will come out, produce it, drop it on the floor and bark at his audience "Figure THAT out!"... but I'm pretty sure that's his line, and really only goes with a character like his.
Sealegs
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There's been another thread about the bowling ball from briefcase here and I and others have had some additional thoughts on the subject that you may (or not) want to check out.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
Bob Sanders
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This one is always on STRIKE!
Bob Sanders

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WayneBurrows
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Does anyone have a source for The Great Kaplan's bowling ball production?
Neznarf
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Oh, I just got this jacket and I think they left a Pin in it.

Then produce Michale Mode Real size Bowling Pin and slam it down on
the table to show it's real.

Of course, this would have to be at the beginning of show.
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...it's about learning how to dance in the rain."
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